Most drivers define their “home track” as the track where they spent their formative racing years. Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. can say his home track sits within walking distance of his own front door.
The Hudson, N.H. native made a rare Granite State Pro Stock Series appearance Sunday evening, winning the annual Gate City 100 at Hudson Speedway.
Polewarczyk started eighth following the post-qualifying redraw, but by the race’s third caution on lap 44, he had worked his way into the runner-up slot behind 2018 GSPSS champion and defending race winner Devin O’Connell. Polewarczyk jumped into the lead on the restart, then held off O’Connell on two more restarts to secure the victory.
The win is the third for “Joey Pole” in three GSPSS starts dating back to 2013, giving him a perfect record in his limited GSPSS career. Polewarczyk’s two other GSPSS wins came at New Hampshire tracks, the now-defunct Canaan Fair Speedway in 2013 and Lee USA Speedway in 2014.
Polewarczyk’s win is also his third of the year in a limited slate of events. The 2014 American-Canadian Tour champion won at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in the pre-season Commonwealth Classic, adding a second Tour victory at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. two weeks ago. Sunday’s GSPSS race was only Polewarczyk’s third outing in the Super Late Model this year, with Pro All Stars Series starts at Star and Vermont’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl.
Though Polewarczyk grew up—and now owns a home—a couple miles from the speedway, Sunday’s race marked his first laps on the track since 2002, and his first ever in a full-size stock car. The ACT Late Models last visited Hudson in 2001, a few years before Polewarczyk joined the Vermont-based touring series.
Devin O’Connell held on for a strong second-place finish, his second-straight runner-up result. Joey Doiron, twice a winner in 2019, started on the pole but faded as far as fourth before sneaking back into the top three in the closing laps. Sophomore racer Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. and two-time GSPSS champion Mike O’Sullivan completed the top five. Cory Casagrande, who set fast time in single-car qualifying, finished sixth.
Doiron, last year’s title runner-up, retains his lead over O’Connell in the championship standings. Problems for third- and fourth-place points challengers Ray Christian III and Josh King have left the title battle as a two-horse race six races into the season.
Fans and teams alike were treated to a host of improvements made to the venerable speedway, as second-year owner Ben Bosowski invested significant money in the track over the offseason. Most notable are a new concrete wall stretching from turns three and four to the turn-two pit exit, replacing a treacherous tire barrier along the backstretch, and a paved pit area outside turns one and two. Bosowski, a former Hudson racer and manager before purchasing the track from the Webber family, has expressed his desire to restore the track to its glory days.
The next scheduled event for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is in early August at New London-Waterford Speedbowl. However, the coastal Connecticut oval remains beset by construction delays. If the race cannot go forward and a makeup event cannot be scheduled, the next GSPSS event will be the annual JBH 100 at western New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway on August 17th.